Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, is well known as a fantastic tourist destination. It has everything you could want from a city break and more: beautiful streets, truckloads of historic buildings, fascinating museums and galleries, great restaurants, fantastic nightlife and accommodation in the Netherlands to suit all needs. With all this on offer it’s difficult to know where to start. So, here’s your guide to the top 5 things to do in Amsterdam, on your next holiday.

Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam: Wander round the picturesque streets
Wander round the picturesque streets of Amsterdam

Top 5 things to do in Amsterdam

Walking in Amsterdam

Located in the west of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a truly breathtaking city. One of the top 5 things to do in Amsterdam – to explore the quaint, cobbled streets, examine the tall, crooked houses, and marvel at the charming canals – is to spend some time walking around the city. The centre of Amsterdam is fairly compact, making it easy to take in much of the city on foot. There are lots of historic homes and buildings all over Amsterdam and, of course, cafes and restaurants to duck into when you’re tired. Some particularly picturesque canals to wander by are Reguliersgracht, famous for it’s seven enchanting bridges; the Bloemgracht, or ‘Flower Canal; and the Browersgracht, once lined with numerous breweries now renovated into beautiful homes.

Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam: A serene tree-lined canal, Amsterdam
A serene tree-lined canal, Amsterdam

Amsterdam Restaurants

After some walking you’re bound to be hungry. There’s plenty of international restaurants all over Amsterdam, serving up everything from pizza to Argentinian steaks and burgers to Indonesian food. If you want to try something Dutch, then finding a pancake house is a great way to go. Whether it’s sweet or savoury, covered in syrup, salami, chocolate or cheese, you’ll definitely find something for you; these huge wheels of thin and crispy batter are a delicious way to break up some city wandering and one of the top 5 things to do in Amsterdam.

Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam: A delicious Dutch pancake, Amsterdam
Delicious Dutch Pancake

Cafes, Bars and Taverns in Amsterdam

After a long day of sightseeing a great way to relax, in Amsterdam, is with a drink. There a cafes everywhere, serving delicious coffees and teas and sweet pastries. There are coffee shops, if you fancy a smoke with your soft drink or cup of joe. My favourite place, however, are the bars and taverns around town selling Belgian beers. Duvel, La Chouffe, Chimay. Dark, heavy, and strong, served up in their own unique glass, to be drunk in the warm glow of a solitary, flickering candle, the glare of a streetlamp through the window, the chatter of dough-eyed couples, dreadlocked travellers and old Spanish friends sitting round rickety wooden tables. There are lighter beers too and fruity ones or famous Dutch lagers, like Amstel and Grolsch, to enjoy beside a canal or in a bar.

Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam: Belgian beers by candlelight
Belgian beers by candlelight

Van Gogh Museum, the Hermitage and the Rijksmuseum

Marvelling at some of the most famous artworks in the world is definitely on one of the top 5 things to do in Amsterdam. The streets of Amsterdam might seem like art enough but, with a wealth of fantastic museums and galleries, it would be a shame not to visit at least one. The Van Gogh Museum holds the biggest collection of the Netherlands’ most famous native painter in the world. The Hermitage has an enormous collection from which it creates fascinating exhibitions. The Rijksmuseum, again, has a huge amount of intriguing artifacts and paintings to gape over and learn a bit about the history of the Netherlands in the process.

Top 5 Things to do in Amsterdam: Marvel at Rembrandt paintings, the Rijksmuseum
Marvel at Rembrandt paintings, the Rijksmuseum

Anne Frank’s House

There are plenty of incredible houses, with a great deal of history, in central Amsterdam but the best known is surely Anne Frank’s House. It was here that the young Jewish girl, famous for her incredible wartime diary, and her family hid from Nazi persecution, during World War 2. It has since been converted into a museum, with the rooms of the Secret Annex being preserved in a similar state to when the Franks and their friends were here, in hiding. The museum’s rooms tell the story of Anne Frank’s life, along with her normal teenage preoccupations, and weave it together with contextual exhibits displaying the horrors of war and anti-semitism to create a powerful and moving experience that is one of the top 5 things to do in Amsterdam and should not be missed.

Amsterdam is a great place to linger for as long as you can, whilst you discover the best of Amsterdam. When you’re ready to get out, why not rent a car or a motorhome rental in Amsterdam and explore some of the Dutch countryside and the other wonderful towns of the Netherlands.

Let us know your top 5 things to do in Amsterdam!

About James Gill

Born and raised in the UK, James got his first taste for travel on an inter rail trip, round Europe. Since completing his English Lit. degree, he has spent most of his time working and traveling in Asia. As well as the UK, James has lived in Thailand and southern China and is now trying his luck in Australia. He has backpacked throughout Southeast Asia and China and travelled in America, Australia and Europe. He is a keen reader and loves eating spicy food.

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